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Key to success: Vision Key to success: Passion Key to success: Perseverance Key to success: Preparation Key to success: Courage Key to success: Integrity Key to success: The American Dream Keys to success homepage More quotes on Passion More quotes on Vision More quotes on Courage More quotes on Integrity More quotes on Preparation More quotes on Perseverance More quotes on The American Dream


Donna Shirley

Mars Exploration Program

Donna Shirley: There was a fellow named Mr. Brady, and he was my advisor when I first came to college. So, I strolled in very confidentially and said, "Okay, I'm here to sign up for my engineering courses." And he said, "What are you doing here?" And I said, "Well, I'm here to enroll in engineering." He said, "Girls can't be engineers." And so I said, "Well, yes I can." And so he said, "All right." I said, "What classes should I take?" And he said, "Well, here's the requirements and then you can take anything you want, and just bring it back and I'll sign it."
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Donna Shirley

Mars Exploration Program

I said to my boss, I said, "What's going on here? Why aren't I getting any good assignments?" He said, "I don't know. I can't figure it out. I'll go talk to the people who have the money and have the projects and see what's going on." And he came back and he said, "Well," he said, "What's the matter is that they all assume that you are now fulfilled as a mother, and don't want a responsible job." And I said, "Good Lord," so we went in and informed these people that, "Yes, I'm not fulfilled as a mother, I do want a responsible job," and so on. And, it wasn't that these guys were against me or anything like that, or anti-female or anything, in fact they were friends of mine. But, it just never occurred to them. They were from the Depression Era, you know, they grew up during the Depression Era, World War II, and their picture of women was, okay, you stay home and take care of your kids and that's how you become fulfilled. And, it never occurred to them that that wasn't my picture.
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Donna Shirley

Mars Exploration Program

The men my age were not used to having high powered working women, and my marriage didn't survive. My husband was born during the Depression and went through World War II and his mother worked. It was very interesting because his mother worked all her life and kept up the house and everything like that, but she was a textile worker. You know, she was not a powerful professional kind of a person. And so, his model was that women are supposed to do the housework and all that sort of stuff, and men are the breadwinners, even though he knew when we met. I mean, we didn't get married till I was 34 and we had talked about it and we'd worked it all out. And, when it really came down to it, it was just too much against his upbringing and beliefs. I didn't handle it well either.
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Alan Simpson

Statesman and Advocate

Alan Simpson: I was a fat kid. When I was in junior high, I weighed about 185. Big pimples all over me and knock-kneed, and that was tough. So I learned humor. All humor comes from pain. If you ever meet a guy full of humor, great, good humor -- Danny Kaye, who was here in Jackson, conducting the symphony one night, and I'd met him before. I said, "Where did it come from?" He said, "Where did it come from? A Russian Jew in the streets of New York? A kid, getting my head beat in every day. I couldn't outrun them. That's where you learn humor." And there's a lot to that. So that came, that was great. It was lucky I had wonderful parents who were dear. But a teacher one day and of course, then you become the class clown. Because then guys pay attention to you and you tell stories. I look at all the stand-up guys, and all I know is that a lot of them have been through pain. It's the way it works. Don't tell me that they haven't. There won't be one. I won't believe it if they don't tell it. And a teacher said, "Do you realize, Alan, have you figured out whether they're laughing with you or laughing at you?" Boy, that was a tough one. Because really, they were laughing at me in many ways. Then you learn you want to have them laughing with you. That's a nice thing. I learned that in grade school.
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Alan Simpson

Statesman and Advocate

Alan Simpson: I went to Cranbrook, that was an eye opener. There was the art of Carl Milles all over the place, and the architecture of Saarinen and I thought, "What is this stuff?" And I'd begun to take an interest in Shakespeare, because it was so powerful. Macbeth and Hamlet, Othello -- no wonder it's been around for 400-plus years, because it's so powerful. It's about greed and lust and hate, jealousy and murder, and vanity and love. So I suppose that Cranbrook was a settling, and then playing football at the university, when I really wasn't that good, but I just reached down, got something deep out of there and I said, "I'm going to make this team." And I did. Basketball was just fun. I was drinking beer and was the tenth guy on the squad. Putting them all to bed at night, and then going drinking beer from Boise, Idaho to Oklahoma City, to Corvallis, Oregon. And I enjoyed that, in a way. But football, I made the first string on defense, and was elected outstanding lineman in a game at Rice Stadium against Houston, and came home and quit. Went to law school. Said, "I proved that, I've done that." And that was really something, because I wasn't physically able to do that. But I had something down inside -- "I'm going to do that." And I did. And those are things -- you don't where it comes from, but it came.
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Ellen Sirleaf

Nobel Prize for Peace

I had already invested a lot of my life in challenging. I had challenged the Doe regime. To a certain extent I even challenged the Tolbert regime, which I was a part of. So taking on Taylor was like carrying on an unfinished business. The unfinished business was really to be able to get the dictators out of the country. To get into a system where people had a choice. To start the process of reconstruction and renewal -- a process that is just starting now, but with a legacy that is very, very difficult. With violence implanted into the value system, and lawlessness being a part, it's difficult, but it's a process that we had to embark on. And even though making that transition is difficult, and going to be difficult, but it's the only way to move the country on to the right track, the track that we're beginning to move along.
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Ellen Sirleaf

Nobel Prize for Peace

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: I've never reached the point of hopelessness where I felt I wouldn't survive. I've reached many points of disappointments. After the 1997 elections, for example, after all the effort we made and the results that were announced. "It's an impossible task. We're dealing with a warlord who has immense power, who has the support." The first thing one gets is, "Forget it. Give it up. Go back into international professional life." It took a little bit of resolve and reflection to say, "You can't give up. You've got to stay the course and suffer the consequences, the indignities and the difficulties." But I think that was a low point, right after those elections when everything just seemed like an exercise in futility.
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